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Feature: Diesel-powered Riddick
The Chronicles of Riddick
We go head to head with the toughest guy in the universe, Vin Diesel, and find out how much of a blast it is for him to return to his Pitch Black character Riddick.
The man in the grey goggles spins around, and, in a fluid motion another couple of bodies hit the dark lava surface of the planet Cremotoria. His weapons like twin hand-held scythes, flash and spin, dispatching the mercenaries and guards emerging from Cremotoria’s underground prison, the Slam. If he seems in a hurry, it’s because Cremotoria is a planet of extremes – by night, -300° Fahrenheit, rising to over 700° by day. At twilight, our hero – intergalactic mass murderer Richard B Riddick – has exactly 30 minutes to get from the Slam to a hidden mercenary ship that he intends to escape in. With the number of people trying to prevent him from doing just that, there’s a reason Riddick’s blades are used with such expertise.
But in the scheme of things, wouldn’t a gun work better?
“Well, Riddick is more of a blade man – a shiv man – probably because that’s all he’s had access to most of his life,” explains the man behind Riddick’s goggles, the shaved-bald and well-muscled Vin Diesel. “So, if he was locked in some cave for a long period of time, if he could somehow fabricate a blade, that’s what he was practising with. It’s almost as if these blades dance around his hands. That’s how proficient he is with the blade, so that’s his weapon of choice. Does he fire a couple of shots? Yeah, but it’s always second to his very obvious love for blades.”
“I always knew that I wanted to explore the Riddick character and realized that the most exciting thing to do would be to explore the universe around Riddick,” Diesel enthuses. “We know who Riddick is – he doesn’t promise to save anybody, he has a lack of identity due to the fact he was never raised in a conventional way. He has abandonment issues and he just wants to be left alone. I love the idea of a guy who potentially could be so heroic, but because of his experiences and his outlook on life, isn’t A: aware of what heroism is and B: probably isn’t aware of anything outside of basic survival. It’s often said on set, what makes this all the more challenging is that we’re not just making a movie – we’re making a universe. Post-World War II, we had Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as our mythology to buy into and then, in the Seventies, we had Star Wars.
Our concept was to create a mythology that would take three films to explain, three films to adventure in, and a story that would take three films to tell.”
In The Chronicles of Riddick, our hero leaves his snow world and finally returns to the world of civilization. On the way he makes a pit stop to rescue his old Pitch Black-surviving friend Jack aka Kyra (Alexa Davalos) from the lava planet prison on Cremotoria on the way to Helion Prime, the site of New Mecca, where Imam (Keith David) was venturing towards way back in Pitch Black.
by Mark Wheaton
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